Page images

Yet affliction, though it cannot wholly destroy the happiness which flows from domestic virtue, may for a time overshadow it. Sorrows and disappointments will invade the happiest abode ; in every cup of earthly enjoyment the waters of bitterness are mingled. And it is well that it should be so. Our discipline requires it; we are not fit to bear a continual sunlight of joy. Something must be suffered, to remind us of the value of our blessings. Something is necessary to cherish our generous sympathies, to exercise our passive virtues, to teach us our dependence upon God, to raise our aspirations to a higher and brighter home. Grief then must come into every circle of affection, but the wounded spirit finds a sweet consolation in domestic sympathy; and how dear is this sympathy both in our joys and in our sorrows ! In trouble it gives to religion peculiar efficacy, when the offering of kindred hearts goes up from the family altar. How powerful are the influences of domestic worship, when the flame of devotion, perhaps first lighted up in the retirement of one lonely spirit, spreads from heart to heart till all are animated by one soul, and breathe out one deep felt prayer to the Great Father, who placeth the solitary in families.'

These home feelings are strongest in our happiest hours; they enhance the power of faith and the joy of devotion. They belong to our nature in its purest state, and readily harmonize with our religious sensibilities, carrying those affections which have embraced and blessed our fellow creatures on earth, upward to the Fountain of love, and giving us an ever-growing relish for all that is excellent in faith and virtue and immortal hope. No eloquence,' says President Dwight, no

time, no labour is necessary to awaken these sympathetic emotions in those who are accustomed to rejoice and mourn, to hope and fear, to weep and smile together. They are caught at once from eye to eye, and from heart to heart; and spread, instantaneously, with an electric influence, through all the endeared and happy circle. Who that wears the name of man, can be indifferent here? Must not the venerable character of the parents, the peculiar tenderness of the conjugal union, the affectionate intimacy of the filial and fraternal relations ; must not the nearness of relations long existing, the interchange of kindness long continued, and the oneness of interests long cemented, all warm the heart, heighten the importance of every petition, and increase the fervour of every devotional effort ? The world, perhaps, does not furnish a single prospect so beautiful, so lovely to the eye of virtuous contemplation, as a family thus assembled for their affectionate devotions. No priest, no minister is so venerable as a father; no congregation so dear and tenderly beloved, as a wife and children; and no oblations are offered with the same union, interest, and delight as those of a pious and affectionate household.'

I must now dismiss the images of peace, joy, and holiness, which gather round the subject of piety at home.' I have considered a well regulated household as the nursery of man's best virtues, and the dwelling-place of his purest happiness. I have done it with the fullest conviction of the misery caused by the want of domestic kindness, or the desertion of domestic duty. How grievous is the mistake of those, who despise the quiet and constant pleasures of home; and perversely look for more thrilling sensations in some unworthy enjoyment

abroad! And how great is the guilt of those, who neglect to make their home an agreeable residence, whose ill humour or ill management drives part of a family abroad -perhaps to the haunts of sin, shame, and ruin-in search of that comfort, which dwells only in the asylum of domestic affection.

Let me then persuade all to cherish that piety, which will make their own homes the hallowed dwelling-place of virtue, love, and joy. Let the husband, the wife, the father, or the mother solemnly reflect on the woe and ruin, which domestic misconduct has always brought into the bosom of a family. Let the vicious and wayward child look at the unutterable anguish he has caused, and say if he can coolly resolve to continue false to those sacred relations, which nature established, and which God commands him to revere. Let every Christian, in short, consider how large a part of his duty centres in his own home, and consists in the practice of private virtues, and the exercise of amiable affections—how much of the true dignity and happiness of our nature depends upon a faithful and untiring devotion to the domestic charities.

W. M. Knight & Co. Printers, Bishop's Court, Old Bailey.







american Unitarian Association,


MAY, 1831.

Price 4 Cents.

The sketch which follows, will, I hope, be found free from essential inaccuracies. My authorities have been such only as I happened to have among my own books, and to these I here generally refer, having made any use of them that was convenient; – Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History -- Gibbon's Roman History Hume — Priestley's Early Opinions – General Repository and Review - Toulmin's Life of Socinus - Toulmin's Life of Biddle Lindsey's History of Unitarianism since the Reformation - Rees' Racovian Catechism.

W. W,


« PreviousContinue »